September 4, 2021
Scripture: And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Revelation 8:3-4 ESV
Observation: Throughout biblical history, we see the people of God join forces in prayer to seek his direction, provision, and protection, whether it was Jesus’ disciples in the upper room or friends of Peter interceding for his rescue from prison. And it will be no different at the end of the age. In the two verses preceding the above text, John first foretells the Lamb opening the seventh and final seal of judgment with the added detail that there will be silence in heaven for about a half-hour (a short pause of solemn observance before the climax of the tribulation). Then, seven angels who stand before God will receive a trumpet to herald each of the seven plagues/disasters that will follow—but not until an eighth angel unites incense (symbolic of prayers, see Psalm 141:2) with the saints’ supplications.
Takeaway: Nothing is more potent than unity in prayer, particularly the intercessions of the righteous (of those who earnestly seek God’s will). Their petitions are powerful (James 5:16) and garner the Lord’s attention (Proverbs 15:29, 1 Peter 3:12). Jesus also reminded his disciples that there is strength in number when we pray according to his will: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19-20 ESV). Powered by Christ, our collective prayers are an unbeatable force when lifted in unity according to his will.
Prayer: Father God, unite your church in prayer, of one mind and purpose, that our intercessions would mobilize us as one body in Christ to serve the least, the last, and the lost. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling